Postsecondary Learning

Coursera Raises $64 Million in Series D to Sell More Courses to Businesses

Jun 7, 2017

COURSERA, one of the online course providers that rode the wave of interest in MOOCs five years ago, announced today that it closed a $64-million round of financing, bringing the total it has raised to $210-million.

The company says it will use much of the money to grow its efforts to sell course sequences in bulk to companies so that those firms can make the educational library available to their employees as a perk. The move is part of the general trend among MOOC providers to get away from giving free education to the masses to shift to the more profitable area of selling certificate programs to working adults.

Trace Urdan, an independent analyst who watches the for-profit education sector, questioned the wisdom of Coursera's raising another round of venture backing at this stage. "The more expensive you become, the narrower your exit options. You become too expensive for some potential strategic acquirers and you risk the public markets—which have no clear comparable—not agreeing what your value should be," he said in an e-mail interview. "I think this is a particular risk with edtech companies, which don't have much of a track record in public markets."

Coursera works with 150 college partners, most of them highly-selective institutions. The colleges produce the courses and Coursera provides the platform and marketing, and the two split the revenue when students pay for certificates that prove they successfully completed the courses.

The latest round, a Series D, came mostly from existing Coursera investors, including GSV Asset Management, New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Learn Capital.

Disclosure: GSV Capital and Learn Capital are also investors in EdSurge.

Postsecondary Learning

Coursera Raises $64 Million in Series D to Sell More Courses to Businesses

Jun 7, 2017

COURSERA, one of the online course providers that rode the wave of interest in MOOCs five years ago, announced today that it closed a $64-million round of financing, bringing the total it has raised to $210-million.

The company says it will use much of the money to grow its efforts to sell course sequences in bulk to companies so that those firms can make the educational library available to their employees as a perk. The move is part of the general trend among MOOC providers to get away from giving free education to the masses to shift to the more profitable area of selling certificate programs to working adults.

Trace Urdan, an independent analyst who watches the for-profit education sector, questioned the wisdom of Coursera's raising another round of venture backing at this stage. "The more expensive you become, the narrower your exit options. You become too expensive for some potential strategic acquirers and you risk the public markets—which have no clear comparable—not agreeing what your value should be," he said in an e-mail interview. "I think this is a particular risk with edtech companies, which don't have much of a track record in public markets."

Coursera works with 150 college partners, most of them highly-selective institutions. The colleges produce the courses and Coursera provides the platform and marketing, and the two split the revenue when students pay for certificates that prove they successfully completed the courses.

The latest round, a Series D, came mostly from existing Coursera investors, including GSV Asset Management, New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Learn Capital.

Disclosure: GSV Capital and Learn Capital are also investors in EdSurge.

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